Wow. What’s with the lady and the sheep?
This is Icebreaker, a pioneer of sustainable technical apparel and a novice New Zealand Merino Wool company with a unique and radical take on things. The products are top quality, athlete-focused and 100% natural. Icebreaker is a stand-alone company with a great story to tell.
How It All Began
In 1994, during a time when synthetics dominated the apparel industry, Icebreaker founder Jeremy Moon took on the mighty task of proving to the world that wool is not dead. Nearly 10 years later, as many companies take small strides to show their social and environmental sustainability, Icebreaker’s New Zealand Merino wool business is far ahead of the pack. Quirky, provocative and fearless, Icebreaker’s business model revolves entirely around what it calls “our relationship with nature and to each other.” (Venture around the Icebreaker site a bit and you’ll see all angles of this relationship).
Why Merino Wool?
Borne from nature, inspired by nature and engineered for people, Icebreaker’s merino performance apparel is radical and unique. Beyond its inherent sustainability, New Zealand merino wool actually performs better than synthetics in regulating body temperature and resisting bacteria. This all comes down to the resilience of the merino in the harsh extremes of New Zealand’s Southern Alps where an efficient coat means the difference between life and death. The merino’s natural fleece is breathable in the summer and insulating in the winter, making it a great layering option for athletes.
But wait, isn’t wool itchy? We asked the same question and Icebreaker broke it down for us.
Traditional wool is from the “lazy” sheep of the lowlands whose fibers are indeed warm, but also course and heavy. By the very nature of the environment, New Zealand merino wool has thin, breathable fibers that are inherently anti-odor, renewable and biodegradable. Not to mention that they are really soft. Wow, right? We had the same reaction.
The cherry on top of the Icebreaker story is something called the Baacode. Recognizing that consumers are increasingly concerned about where their products are made and what they are made of, Icebreaker really honed in on transparency. Each garment has a unique Baacode that can be copied onto the “Trace Me” page of the website, which then indicates exactly – yes, exactly – which New Zealand merino farm your item is from.